© Ocusfocus | Dreamstime
Zillennials’ Workforce  is Stressed Out

Zillennials Workforce is Stressed Out

April 6, 2022
A new MetLife study says over half of these workers, 23-28 , report being stressed out from an unfulfilling job.

As workforce needs continue to be front and center for companies, research has devised yet another category of people calling them Zillennials. They are a micro-generation born between 1993-1998 that has increased in size by more than 5 million workers over the last 5 years. 

MetLife's annual survey,  U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, released March 21, found that this group is very insistent on a work culture and environment that better aligns with their personal values. The report finds they are the least satisfied in their jobs – amid a 20-year low across all generations – and more than half of Zillennials (53%) say having an unfulfilling job is currently a top source of stress.

Over the past twenty years that MetLife has been issuing this report looking at workers’ shifting perceptions of their employers as work-life balance, some new trends have emerged. Purposeful work and supportive cultures have emerged as key retention-driving aspects of the employee experience.

And it's the younger employees that desire these changes. It's due to both fallout from the pandemic but is also an overall trend of younger employees being less likely to conform to traditional workplace conventions due to evolving values and priorities.

More Discerning Employees

As they continue to struggle with burnout and social isolation two years into the pandemic – with 53% having sought mental health help in the last year (vs. 31% of all employees) – Zillennials feel more strongly than other employees that their employer is doing only the “minimum possible” to help them adapt to their new working environments (41% vs. 36%, respectively).

As a result, the report finds Zillennials are now more discerning than other generations in evaluating their employers, considering all aspects of the employee experience beyond traditional benefits.

“It’s clear we’ve reached a critical inflection point in the workplace, and employers across industries should not only be taking note but should also see this as an important opportunity for reflection and growth,” said Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits at MetLife, in a statement. “As employees rethink not only how, but also why they work, Zillennials are quickly setting a new standard for evaluating the employee experience. By using this generation’s expectations as a barometer for success, employers can evolve to meet their needs in stride – which is important, particularly as Zillennials gain a stronger foothold in the workforce.”

Supporting the Whole Employee Experience

As Zillennials seek fulfillment at work, many are looking for purpose-driven environments that meet their shifting priorities. More interested in companies that provide a clear sense of purpose – with less than half (46%) willing to stay with a company that doesn’t have a clear and positive company purpose (vs. 57% of all employees) – Zillennials’ new needs go beyond traditional benefits to include enhanced interest in an employer’s stance on environmental and ethical issues (45%), as well as diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) resource groups (40%), both of which have emerged as “must-have” employer expectations for this age group.

According to the study, while more pronounced among Zillennials, this shift is consistent with that of other generations – in particular, younger employees – who are expressing similar priorities in 2022.

A work culture that taps into and improves employee social and mental health has also become a top consideration for Zillennials. According to the report, recognizing the importance of employees' lives outside of work, and policies that place boundaries on employees' working hours both rose in importance by double-digit percentages in the last two years (by 13% and 11%, respectively). This too is reflective of Gen Z and millennial employees, the study found.

Reinforcing Foundational Benefits to Improve Well-being & Job Satisfaction

As employers consider how to improve the employee experience, the report found thinking holistically about benefits can help – particularly as one in four Zillennials (27%) say they have considered leaving their employer for an improved benefits package over the past year (vs. 19% of all employees). Traditional benefits remain of high importance to Zillennials; this is particularly true of legal plans, life insurance, and hospital indemnity insurance, which jumped 25 percentage points, 23 percentage points, and 19 percentage points since 2017 among this age range, respectively.

In the same turn, this group is also increasingly expressing interest in new benefits, such as student debt assistance, with 50% calling it a “must-have.” When asked which would most improve their well-being, Zillennials cited paid and unpaid leave benefits (74%); work-life management programs (67%); mental wellness benefits, including employee assistance programs (EAP) and reimbursement for therapy sessions (62%); and programs to support their financial needs (55%) as top priorities.

“When it comes to improving job satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, employers need to think of benefits as the foundation of the whole employee experience,” said Katz. “Benefits are critical, but they don’t exist in a silo. Employers should be offering comprehensive packages that both complement and reinforce the other critical elements of the employee experience. If they don’t, they risk losing this vital sector of the workforce to an employer who will.”

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

10 Facts About the State of Workplace Safety in the U.S.

July 12, 2024
Workplace safety in the U.S. has improved over the past 50 years, but progress has recently stalled. This report from the AFL-CIO highlights key challenges.

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!